Tanker docks at Trans Mountain Westridge Terminal in Burnaby, which has operated since 1954. (Kinder Morgan Canada)

54% of B.C. residents support Kinder Morgan pipeline: poll

Pollster says support is up six percentage points from a previous survey in February

More than half of British Columbians say the provincial government should give in and allow the Trans Mountain pipeline project to move forward, a new poll suggests.

The survey, released Wednesday by the Angus Reid Institute, says this is the first time that most B.C. residents have been in favour of the Kinder Morgan expansion, with 54 per cent of respondents supporting the pipeline compared to 38 per cent against. A February poll had found only 48 per cent in favour.

The project would twin an existing pipeline that transports oilsands crude from central Alberta to terminals in Burnaby. It’s been the subject of much tension between B.C. and Alberta, with Alberta introducing legislation to restrict energy exports to B.C. this week.

Citing protests from B.C. residents and their government, Kinder Morgan halted all “non-essential” work on the project earlier this month.

READ: Elizabeth May, other anti-pipeline protesters to be criminally charged

Respondents were also asked what the province should do if the courts deny B.C.’s appeal to assert jurisdiction over the pipeline. Two-thirds said Premier John Horgan should follow the court ruling.

Another three quarters of B.C. residents said a tanker spilling oil into Burrard Inlet or the surrounding waters was their top concern.

The overall environmental impact of extracting more fossil fuels was their second biggest concern, while a possible leak in the pipeline itself was third.

Just over half of British Columbians weren’t confident in efforts to prevent or respond to an oil spill at sea.

They remained torn on whether the benefits outweighed the risks of the project, with 3o per cent saying the risks and benefits were roughly equal, while 21 per cent said the benefits outweighed the risks.

Nationwide, 65 per cent of respondents said they support the pipeline and that B.C. is wrong to try and stop it.


@katslepian

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